Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Ressence Type 3 Brings Time to the Surface

Sometimes it takes a person from a different field to show us what is possible with watches.
Benoît Mintiens is an industrial designer who just happened to come up with one of the most talked about and sought after watches of the past three BaselWorld fairs.  

This is his latest, the Type 3 -

The Ressence Type 3 transports time from the dial to the crystal. The orbiting indications are bathed in a fluid that refracts light like air, so that the indications appear to be displayed directly onto the sapphire crystal – closer to the eye of the beholder. The high-contrast white indicators against the black dial appear to be projected onto the top crystal as if onto a screen. Type 3 offers a tangible feeling of being able to touch time itself.

Discs displaying hours, minutes, seconds and days revolve under the domed sapphire crystal, while the date is read from the perimeter of the dial at 6 o'clock. The indications discs continually revolve, as does the whole dial itself. The face of the watch is constantly changing in the same way that a human face is transformed by each passing emotion.

With the Type 3, Benoît Mintiens, the founder of Ressence, concentrates on the user experience rather than on creating a showcase for the workings of a watch.

Courtesy of Ressence 
Traditional hands are replaced by convex discs set in a convex dial, providing an abstract representation of pared-down and poetic time. Lines painted on the hours, minutes and seconds discs indicate the time just like traditional hands, but unlike traditional hands, they do not overlap so less space is required between the dial and the crystal.

Courtesy of Ressence 
The Type 3 is a mechanical watch; however the illusion of seeing indications appear on the sapphire crystal as if they were on a computer screen is reinforced by the pronounced curve of the glass and a "water drop" effect that accentuates the black/white contrast of the dial.

The Type 3 provides proof of Leonardo Da Vinci's adage that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", because in order to take this new step forward, Benoît Mintiens had to develop some very original technical solutions.

The indications and their mechanisms are mounted inside a bubble crafted from extremely tough, anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The complication and indications follow the shape of the crystal. The mechanism (28 gears, 57 jewels) is enclosed in an upper compartment filled with a naphtha-type liquid that has a more similar index of refraction to the sapphire crystal than air does.

Refraction bends light when it passes from one material to another, e.g. air-to-glass or glass-to-air. With the fluid-filled dial indications, refraction is greatly minimised, which tricks the brain into seeing the dial in two-dimensions rather than three. A thermal valve automatically adjusts for any expansion or contraction of the fluid.

An unbroken hermetic titanium membrane between the upper section housing the complication module and indications and the movement prevents any physical connection, so the information is transmitted magnetically. The automatic winding movement is protected by a soft-iron Faraday cage to minimise the effects of magnetic fields on timing.

'Ressence' is a portmanteau of the words 'renaissance' and 'essence'. Ressence's quest for “the essential”, which began with the replacement of traditional hands by flat discs, has taken another step forward in the Type 3 with the absence of a crown as well.
Courtesy of Ressence

The complete sapphire caseback rotates and takes the role of the crown. A gravitational gearing system allows the indications to be adjusted separately: with the dials facing up, it is possible to change the time and date; with the back up, the watch can be wound.

Like the dial side, the back is curved convexly so that its centre touches the wrist where there are no bones, making the Type 3 a very comfortable watch to wear.
Courtesy of Ressence

1 comment:

  1. This is a realy great watch and I admire his innovations